Designing with Joy: Livable Luxury

Designing With Joy: Livable Luxury

In each issue of Design & Living, residential and commercial designer Christen Anderson of Live Christen Joy showcases a joyful project of hers. This month, Anderson showcases a master bedroom design that is luxurious, serene and comfortable.

Photos by Kayleigh Omang

We all have rooms in our homes that need a little love. I’m talking about rooms that are structurally sound but could use some design attention. So where do you start if you want to make the biggest impact? Surprisingly, in your bedroom.

Your bedroom is the place in your home where you start and end each day. It supports you, calms you and sets the stage for your dreams. It’s the one room you should most love being in. 

A retreat refresh is exactly what a West Fargo couple wanted when they called upon Christen Joy. They had ideas but welcomed my direction to curate a space unique to them. Upon walkthrough, the adjustable bed was allowed to stay; the old furniture moved out. It was too small and no longer fit the aesthetic.

In their new space, they envisioned texture, soft inviting colors, not overly modern finishes, fresh paint and a sprinkle of family photos. The list was set. Mood boards were created and approved showcasing colors, rugs, artwork and lighting options to ensure alignment on the look and feel. Because correct scale was important in this refresh, I also had elevations drafted so they could experience how the space would feel when standing in the room and looking at the headboard and nightstands.

Furnishings & Fabrics

The first furnishing item selected was the headboard/bed frame. It’s actually tricky to find one guaranteed to fit an adjustable mattress! The large off-white velvet headboard brings just the right amount of elegance to the room, and leaves enough space for other furniture. It also supports an airy mix of crisp cotton pillows. 

The neutral off-white color makes it a forever-piece that supports any future color change in the room. A heather wool rug in cream and oatmeal tones makes a stunning textural play off the velvet, adding a subtle moodiness to the crisp chicness of the bed linens.

Light oak nightstands and a low dresser brilliantly combine modern storage with relaxed, natural aesthetics to complement the airy design of the exotic fabric on the duvet and pillows. The furniture pulls made of acrylic and polished nickel are perfect ‘jewelry’ adding crisp sparkle. 

For the bedding, I proposed a bold pastel pattern and was thrilled when the homeowner was open to it — as long as it stayed in her color palette. The batik-like pattern, based from a southern artist’s paintings uses romantic pinks, purples, greens and blues to add dimension and a serious WOW-factor! 

During this process, we were hyper-focused on the bedding fabric — not only the look of it but also the feel and crispness. As someone who has been known to iron their bedding, I get it! We found a fresh linen that’s comfortable to sleep in and stays crisp and clean once you’ve made the bed. And we selected airy cotton sheets and luxe pillowcases in pale blush pink matched to the duvet. 

Designing With Joy: Livable Luxury

Cotton Versus Linen 

1. Durability. Cotton has more stretch and flexibility than linen but is not as durable. Finer cotton, like Egyptian cotton, is made from long-staple cotton fibers, which makes it softer and more durable than standard cotton, but still not as durable as linen. 

2. Longevity. Linen is much more rigid but lasts longer because the cellulose fibers in linen yarn are slightly longer and wrapped tighter than those in cotton yarn, which increases its strength and longevity.

3. Softness. Cotton is softer to the touch than linen because flax fibers are rougher than cotton fibers. For example, cotton sheets are very soft right out of the box and can last around five years, but linen sheets become very soft after several washes and last longer…up to 30 years!

4. Texture. Cotton is a smoother fabric, while linen has more of a rough, textured pattern as a result of the looser weave.

5. Appearance. Cotton pills more than linen, as cotton fibers are weaker. Both cotton and linen wrinkle easily, as they are made from natural fibers, but linen wrinkles slightly more due to the stiffness of the fabric.

6. Hypoallergenic. Both cotton and linen are hypoallergenic; however, linen is slightly better for people with allergies as the lower thread count and the loose weave is less likely to trap dust and particles.

7. Absorbency. Both cotton and linen are very absorbent, and water strengthens both linen and cotton fibers. Cotton is slightly more absorbent, as cotton can hold more than 25% of its weight in water while linen can hold up to 20% water.

8. Water-wicking. Linen also has natural water-wicking qualities, which means it draws water (or sweat) out of the skin and dries quickly. Cotton also wicks moisture well, but it doesn’t have the same natural wicking ability that linen has.

9. Breathability. Both cotton fabric and linen fabric are breathable, though the breathability of cotton depends more on the weave of the fabric rather than the fibers themselves.

10. Warmth. Cotton does not conduct heat and it has similar insulating properties to fiberglass, the material used to insulate homes. Linen flax fibers are hollow, making it very cool for the summer, but should be layered in the winter months.


Art & Final Details

The wall art had to complement the bedding, not compete with it, therefore, two abstract pieces were selected to highlight its tones. One adds the sparkle of brass to bring out the furniture while the suede-textured watercolor mimicked the bedding. Both pieces quietly add to the ensemble without demanding the spotlight. 

The substantial piece of greenery is a fool-proof detail to add life to any design. The best part about this one? It’s faux but with the beauty of a fiddle leaf fern that has been well taken care of for years. 

White matte frames incorporate family photos or favorite vacation spots. The photos live among pops of greenery in polished nickel decorative vases layered on a polished nickel tray with acrylic hardware. Lastly, lamps adorned with the same silver-toned finish create the perfect lighting for morning or night.

Pastel bound coffee table books and delicate pottery or beads to add subtle color and dimension for texture and warmth. 

The final piece needed was a comfortable swivel chair that was stylish and welcoming. The warm oatmeal tone can be dressed up with colorful pillows or throws. It’s the perfect cozy spot to curl up with your early morning coffee or to finish the last few chapters before heading off to dream about your next room refresh! 


Anderson is a Minnesota native with an eye for decor and design. Christen Joy specializes in new-construction commercial projects, exceptional remodels, furnishing high-end living spaces and creating memorable special events. Anderson is also a passionate art collector, world traveler and home cook who frequently entertains for friends. 

Join me on Instagram and Facebook to see my latest projects and email me at [email protected] for project inquiries.

Read more from Christen Anderson here.


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